Tacos, tortillas, and burritos

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  • “In life, have a friend who is like a mirror and a shadow;  A mirror never lies and a shadow never leaves.” —Anonymous

    We left our hearts in Mexico City.  Spending four full days there was a blessing and when we left, we vowed to find our way back again… sometime soon. By the way, we need visas to get to Mexico but Mexicans do not have to get one coming here. They have 30 days to stay here.

    We took the flight back to Vancouver and it was back to the arms of my grandsons and their daddy, Junie. Then after four days, we made the long flight via PAL (really shining through) back to Manila. We had to wait 20 minutes before we could land, the one runway of NAIA was full, and so we circled above to wait for permission to land! Hello! It was a good thing our pilot was steady-handed and we landed without a hitch!

    What did we miss when we got home? Aside from family members and longtime friends in sunny Vancouver, it was the old world charm of the Mexican City streets, the creativity of its natives manifested in their food and crafts, flowers everywhere, the religious fervor of its people that captivated us. One tends to forget the many horror stories on border wars with the US and drug busts including the not so recent capture of El Chapo, reputed to be the world’s richest and most powerful drug lord.  Just strolling through the city’s lush streets and gawking at all the monuments scattered around was awesome.

    Did you know there is a bigger-than-life size statue of Dr. Jose Rizal in the city? There is, in an important plaza in the business district!

    With new friends Carlo and Lesan Malana, we were able to go so to the some of the city’s outstanding bistros at night for dinner. Carlo works as an American expat in the city, the senior vice president for strategy in a big multinational company. Carlo and my son Junie were schoolmates in De la Salle University in Manila and were volleyball pals.

    Lesan also accompanied us to visit the world famous National Museum of Anthropology. She gave up a well-paying job too, to move to Mexico City to be with Carlo. But she is happy and while still barely two months in Mexico, she is settling in very well.

    This museum structure is a source of pride for the government as it is awesome in its wide-range and depth of its subjects. This was finished in 1964 and was designed by architect Pedro Ramirez Vasquez and inaugurated by President Adolfo Lopez Mateos. It has an area of over 93,371 square meters and has three levels with an imposing lobby and courtyard, which would remind us of the sun and moon pyramids we had visited the day before.

    Our colleague Chuchi de Vega in out media forum, Amb. Eddie’s mom had drilled us to “don’t miss going to the anthropology museum and I am glad she did. It was an extraordinary experience in this city with so many museums! Cry, cry for our own city!

    This is under the country’s Secretaria de Cultura and follows these tenets: “Courage and confidence before the future find the people in the splendor of their past. Mexican, behold yourself in the mirror of that greatness. Verify here, stranger, the unity of the human destiny. Civilizations may come and go by, but in the minds of men will remain forever the glory that others have striven to create them” —Jimmy Torres Bodet.

    For something very close to our hearts, Lesan suggested we go to the “tiangge” market called Centro Atesenal La Ciudadela. It was mind-boggling, a combination of the best bargains in Divisoria, Dapitan market, Greenhills and the other bazaars you see in Manila. From daintily-embroidered clothes to trinkets, to finely engraved silver earrings, necklaces, rings, bags, shawls, blankets, creches or small “belens,” masks, shirts, name it, it was there!

    Here we were recognized as Pinays by some male vendors who took up a chant, PacMan…Manny Pacquiao!” Obviously the neophyte senator is wellknown in Mexico City!

    This “reverence” for Sen. Manny carried over even to our taxi drivers. Strange, since he has beaten up many of his Mexican opponents. Boxing is the national sport here, we were told, and of course, football.

    Our Mexican tryst gave us a lot of chances to sample their paper thin corn tortilla, burritos, tacos in different shapes, sizes and with exotic sauces, some of the best steaks ever, and first class fusion food from Dulce Patria. It also gave us more insights into why Our Lady of Guadalupe attracts millions of pilgrims yearly. Patroness of the unborn, she came to deliver a powerful message of peace and devotion to her son.

    We also saw several tribes of native Indians dance to the wild beat of drums for hours in the plaza opposite the Metropolitan Cathedral. They reminded us of ati-ati dancers back home, dedicated to their dances and devotion to the Niño.( mb.com)



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